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PvE DPS spec


Bilirubin

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Hi all,

 

Been playing a KC tank exclusively, but my guild is tank heavy :( so I am contemplating a change to a DPS spec in order to get involved with the HM/NiM operations. I am considering going Balance since it is the highest DPS Shadow. I would appreciate any and all thoughts you might have on what my best options might be.

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If you're going for PvE DPS, then I would recommend ignoring Project. Take it off your bars, and don't get Upheaval or Twin Disciplines. For Balance, Project is a skill that gives you good burst right now, but actually lowers your overall DPS because of it's massive force cost. That's sometimes useful in PvP, when you want to burn someone down and you're not going for sustained damage. However, for PvE it's really not worth using.

 

Twin Disciplines especially is worthless. It's only +10% melee bonus damage. That means that if you have a melee damage bonus of 400, Twin Disciplines is giving you another 40 melee damage. Considering that a huge part of our damage comes from force attacks, it takes two talent points, and it requires using a skill that uses a ton of force, it's definitely not worth it.

 

Standard PvE build is 5/2/31 +3. From that point, you have two widely accepted choices. You can put points into Infiltration Tactics, which gives you a DPS boost by allowing you to occasionally use Shadow Strike. You could also put two points into Resilience, which is only somewhat helpful for PvE but incredibly good for PvP. If you do even occasional PvP, I'd recommend Resilience. Last point is a toss-up between Double-Bladed Saber Defense or Mind Ward, and I'm a fan of Mind Ward.

 

 

Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, I'll do my best to answer.

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Thanks. Interestingly this is the first I've seen of this "standard" build. I wound up going with this build, which I found in both the Handbook and the Balance specific threads. In playing through the Belsavis dailies I found everything went fine, but in a HM FP later that evening I did wind up force starved (but that was because, as soon as I specced DPS, I was asked to tank! :rolleyes: ) Consequently I took a shield instead of my nice new Rakata focus. I will definitely keep an eye on how project messes with force availability and consider moving some points around if so.

 

Its a very interesting play style, and as soon as I get used to the new procs to watch for, expect to do huge damage (have already critted once for 3K, which was very nice).

Edited by Bilirubin
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Yeah, Project is fine in short, fast fights where force management isn't an issue. It burns up lots of force for nice burst, and as long as you don't run out before the fight's over that's a positive DPS gain. But in any group PvE content, especially boss fights, it's usually a bad idea.

 

Expertise is an exceptionally bad talent, regardless of build. Look at how much damage your Force Technique does. It's well under 200. That means that Expertise is giving you less than 12 damage every two seconds or so. We're talking an increase of something like 4 DPS. Those points would be far better spent in either Shadowy Veil or Resilience.

 

Also, you should consider Double-Bladed Saber Defense. Lots of people out there aren't a fan of the talent, but I actually like it. Especially if you end up off-tanking or use a shield, that can be as much as 25% more force regeneration, as well as increased defenses. It's of dubious worth in PvP, but lots of PvE attacks are weapon damage. Even in PvP, I'm a fan of a 1/25 chance to completely ignore the damage and effects from many common attacks.

 

I actually run with this 8/2/31 build, and I notice a large increase in survivability from when I used to use this 7/3/31 build. My DPS, especially in melee range, is slightly lower, but I'm okay with that. I can'd do DPS if I'm not alive. This is also good for me since I PvP as much as if not more than I PvE. Not having to worry about Infiltration Tactics/Shadow Strike freed up space on my bars and made my rotations easier to handle.

 

 

Also:

Its a very interesting play style, and as soon as I get used to the new procs to watch for, expect to do huge damage (have already critted once for 3K, which was very nice).

 

You're not going to get shiny crits. Spinning Strike and FiB will hit nice, but Balance is not the spec to go if you're interested in nice, big numbers. In stead, revel in the joy of the massive fountain of numbers coming off an enemy after you put all three DoTs on them and use Double Strike. I enjoy seeing six medium numbers more than one big one.

Edited by Philosomanic
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I corrected the Handbook to a more updated version of the Balance Shadow. Project is indeed ineffective in HM operations where fights might be sustained (bosses). It is not a great trash pull build if your fighting smaller hit point sacks but overall if a really fun and rewarding spec, especially for the passive survivability you get through self-heals on dmg abilities.

 

@Phil - Check out the Balance section on the new stickied Handbook and let me know if everything is in good order. I;ve been making revisions as I can from when Astral handled it and I want to make sure it's on point.

 

I also wanted to add a section for people to look for who are active on the forums and knowledgeable about the Shadow. Especially with links to videos and posts. This however will be coming later this week.

Edited by Zintair
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Well compared to what I was getting as KC, it was at least 1000 damage higher than the best I recall seeing. Let me bask in the fantasy of having a decent burst for at least a day eh? ;)

 

The really nice upshot to this build was that, even not being an ideal tank, we managed to take down Malgus on the stairs. Those DoTs really add up over the length of a fight.

 

Going to seriously consider what you have been saying too, since I do do the odd PvP. Having already respecced twice this week, I may hold off until next week when things get cheaper again (although my second respec was only 1200 creds, but still).

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How does something like this look

 

http://www.torhead.com/skill-calc#6010cZhMbZfrbRrRkMfz.1

 

gives the ability to pop force cloak to get regen mid fight, and quicker interrupts (not sure how necessary that is, but from a rogue background, usually find interrupts a blessing)

 

Your kind of going against your naturally stronger Force regeneration in Balance. I also noticed that Mind Snap and Force of Will aren't really on rough timers where you might need it more than once during a fight.

 

I can't remember a PvE trash pull where I was CC'd more than once and need a second serving of Force of Will.

 

EDIT: I truly believe the only place you would SLOT Celerity Skill is in PvP. It's really an unnecessary PvE skill especially when Sentinels get a lot more interrupts. - 2 seconds is going to do next to nothing for you on a PvE fight. -30 seconds on Force of Will is also very minor for a PvE skill to take. I just don;t believe it's a better trade off then going "Applied Force" in KC for the improved DS damage (or CS as well if your full Infiltration)

Edited by Zintair
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Yeah, Project is fine in short, fast fights where force management isn't an issue. It burns up lots of force for nice burst, and as long as you don't run out before the fight's over that's a positive DPS gain. But in any group PvE content, especially boss fights, it's usually a bad idea.

 

Expertise is an exceptionally bad talent, regardless of build. Look at how much damage your Force Technique does. It's well under 200. That means that Expertise is giving you less than 12 damage every two seconds or so. We're talking an increase of something like 4 DPS. Those points would be far better spent in either Shadowy Veil or Resilience.

 

Also, you should consider Double-Bladed Saber Defense. Lots of people out there aren't a fan of the talent, but I actually like it. Especially if you end up off-tanking or use a shield, that can be as much as 25% more force regeneration, as well as increased defenses. It's of dubious worth in PvP, but lots of PvE attacks are weapon damage. Even in PvP, I'm a fan of a 1/25 chance to completely ignore the damage and effects from many common attacks.

 

I actually run with this 8/2/31 build, and I notice a large increase in survivability from when I used to use this 7/3/31 build. My DPS, especially in melee range, is slightly lower, but I'm okay with that. I can'd do DPS if I'm not alive. This is also good for me since I PvP as much as if not more than I PvE. Not having to worry about Infiltration Tactics/Shadow Strike freed up space on my bars and made my rotations easier to handle.

OK, now that I have had some experience playing Balance, could you go over your rotation without project? I assume you also don't bother with proccing Shadow Strike? So you would focus on DoTs, Double Strike, and Mind Crush?

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OK, now that I have had some experience playing Balance, could you go over your rotation without project? I assume you also don't bother with proccing Shadow Strike? So you would focus on DoTs, Double Strike, and Mind Crush?

 

Correct on all counts. My rotation actually varies pretty widely. For sustained single-target fights (like a boss fight), it's a priority list:

 

Force In Balance: No Force Suppression charges on enemy.

Mind Crush: With Force Strike up.

Spinning Strike: If available.

Sever Force: On expiration.

Force Breach: On expriation.

Shadow Strike: With Infiltration Tactics

Double Strike

Saber Strike

 

If you know it's going to be a long enough fight to use up all your force, there's a slight change you can make to raise your force efficiency. Force Strikes has a proc limit of 7.5s, (5 GCDs). Mind Crush's DoT last 6s (4 GCDs). This means that once Mind Crush is over, you know you're able to proc Force Strikes again. Try using Saber Strikes once the Force Strikes proc is available. Since it has three hits in stead of two, you have an extremely high chance to proc. If you're going to have to fit Saber Strikes into your rotation, this is the most efficient place to use it.

 

My solo (landscape) PvE rotation kind of depends. Always lead with Force in Balance. It may be tempting to put Force Breach on every enemy, but I've found that that actually slows you down. In stead, I've found that a rough rotation where you stack DoTs up on the strongest enemy while burning down the weaklings one by one works best. Something like this:

 

  1. Lead with Force in Balance from 15-20m range. Throughout the rest of this fight, use FiB on cooldown.
  2. Use Sever Force on the strongest enemy.
  3. Identify the weakest enemy. Hit them with Force Breach, followed by Double Strike and Spinning Strike until they're dead.
  4. If you don't have Force Strikes, hit the weakest enemy with Force Breach and burn them down. Repeat until you proc Force Strikes.
  5. Hit the strongest enemy with Mind Crush. If they're above 50%, go to #6. If they're below 50%, burn them down. If the new strongest enemy is a Strong or better, hit them with Sever Force.
  6. Pick the next weakest mob, and burn them down without placing any DoTs.
  7. Go back to step 3, wash/rinse/repeat.

 

So let's say you're fighting a Strong and three normal/weak enemies. You'd lead with FiB and hit the strong with Sever Force. Then you pick the weakest mob, hit them with Force Breach, and try for a Force Strikes proc. Over the time it takes to kill a normal mob, Force Breach is really only worth it for the proc chance. Once you kill them, put Mind Crush on the Strong, then kill the second mob with Double Strike spam. Hit the third mob with Force Breach again, and kill them. You should have Force Strikes. Hit the Strong with Mind Crush and they should be nearly dead.

 

That is by no means an exact rotation, but it's a rough approximation of the decisions I make in combat. The cool thing about Balance is that it's incredibly fluid, so there's no set-in-stone rotation.

 

 

For PvP, there's only one real "rule". Use Force in Balance on cooldown. If at all possible, hit each target who has Force Suppression charges with Force Breach. After that, you're free to spread DoTs around or focus on one player. Breach with the Force Suppression charges will do heavy damage, heal you sporadically, and make force maintenance incredibly easy.

 

I hope this (massive wall of text) helped a bit. The key is that there's no real rotation. You have to get to know your damage, and not over-apply DoTs. If a normal, on-level mob is at 35% health, it's not worth using a DoT. Just Double Strike and Spinning Strike. Things like that.

Edited by Philosomanic
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Might aswell ask here instead of opening a new topic.

 

 

Im trying to dps as much as possible, currently running kinetic/balance hybrid and do very good damage. This is defiantly my favourite pvp build. However im currently going through a pve phase and running HMs.

 

Isit defiantly balance for dps? or would infil get a look in ?? I currently hit standard hm mobs around 1.5 - 2k with double strike. my dps stats are 700 odd - 872 with buffs.

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I hope this (massive wall of text) helped a bit.

 

Massively, thanks! The only thing I am left wondering is whether in a boss fight the procced Shadow Strikes might be worth the force spent since they hit like trucks (and I am usually DPSing bosses from the side to behind). Going to try and experiment some, and hope I don't have to tank again tonight to make it meaningful (since taking Combat Technique changes procs so wildly).

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Massively, thanks! The only thing I am left wondering is whether in a boss fight the procced Shadow Strikes might be worth the force spent since they hit like trucks (and I am usually DPSing bosses from the side to behind). Going to try and experiment some, and hope I don't have to tank again tonight to make it meaningful (since taking Combat Technique changes procs so wildly).

 

Yeah... you really shouldn't be having to tank. You don't have near the survivability of a specced tank, and your damage is cut down too. You'll actually have less damage in Combat Technique than a Kinetic Shadow. But I guess if your choices are "tank" or "get replaced", there's not much you can do. There has to be a Guardian or Vanguard in your group that you can make tank, though, isn't there?

 

 

Procced Shadow Strike is definitely worth it. They only cost 2 force more than Double Strike but do more damage. However, I'd recommend saving Shadow Strike until Force Strikes is unavailable. While you have a chance to proc, you want to use skills with multiple hits.

 

I don't use it for two reasons. The first is that there are other defensive/utility talents I really want. The second is laziness. I'm out of space on my bars, so I don't want to deal with that. I also don't want to have to fit it into my rotation, and I like not having to bother with the positioning as much. I usually end up behind the enemy anyways (to avoid frontal AoE), but without Shadow Strike it's not 100% necessary.

 

Glad I could help :D

Edited by Philosomanic
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Yeah... you really shouldn't be having to tank. You don't have near the survivability of a specced tank, and your damage is cut down too. You'll actually have less damage in Combat Technique than a Kinetic Shadow. But I guess if your choices are "tank" or "get replaced", there's not much you can do. There has to be a Guardian or Vanguard in your group that you can make tank, though, isn't there?

 

Its just ironic that as soon as I spec DPS to get in more Ops action no tanks show up for HM FPs. Did get to DPS HM False Emperor last night, and we went reasonably well. I ran low on force at one point, but a saber strike or two put things right (and as you mentioned procced Force Strike quickly).

 

 

Procced Shadow Strike is definitely worth it. They only cost 2 force more than Double Strike but do more damage. However, I'd recommend saving Shadow Strike until Force Strikes is unavailable. While you have a chance to proc, you want to use skills with multiple hits.

 

I don't use it for two reasons. The first is that there are other defensive/utility talents I really want. The second is laziness. I'm out of space on my bars, so I don't want to deal with that. I also don't want to have to fit it into my rotation, and I like not having to bother with the positioning as much. I usually end up behind the enemy anyways (to avoid frontal AoE), but without Shadow Strike it's not 100% necessary.

 

Glad I could help :D

Lots of food for thought. Definitely will start playing around with the spec now that I'm more comfortable with it. Its super fun, after playing KC up till now (but that was really useful to introduce me to MMOs in general; I'm a FPS player at heart).

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If you're able to do it with Iresso, the that's the way to go. You'll kill much faster with a companion that actually does more than negligible DPS. Properly geared, he should take far less damage than you do, so it should be survivable. Also, any companion is cooler than Tharan :p
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  • 2 weeks later...
1.2 has liberated my talent tree points, and so I'm going to try your 8/2/31 build. Now having played balance for a few weeks I find I rarely use project, except as a closer for mind traps or stun droids when FiB is on cooldown. OTOH I have been hella squishy so some extra defense would be appreciated. Will LYK how it works out.
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Infil does equal to or even slightly higher than Balance for short fights (12s or less). However, for sustained DPS (like FP/HM/Op bosses), Balance is better. Either of them are better than a Kinetic/Balance hybrid, though.

 

That is false. Getting better sustained results from operation dummies on infiltration than balance at the moment. Might depend on the gear though. Currently I'm averaging around 1350 dps on balance and 1400 dps on infiltration on 5 minute parse. I had some different results on PTS but didn't do too much testing, now I'm getting ~50 dps more on infiltration every time. And judging that it's better burst as well I see it as the superior spec for pve dps.

Edited by Veimi
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That is false. Getting better sustained results from operation dummies on infiltration than balance at the moment. Might depend on the gear though. Currently I'm averaging around 1350 dps on balance and 1400 dps on infiltration on 5 minute parse. I had some different results on PTS but didn't do too much testing, now I'm getting ~50 dps more on infiltration every time. And judging that it's better burst as well I see it as the superior spec for pve dps.

 

Could be gear (show us your stats/gear? A profile would be awesome), but it could also just be practice. If I recall correctly, you've played Infiltration a lot, but are relatively new to Balance. It could just be that Infiltration's rotation comes easier to you. Having tons of experience in one build and far less in another could easily make a 50 DPS difference.

 

However, if what you're saying is true, then that's definitely an issue that needs to be rebalanced. The way I see it, Infiltration was made to have higher burst, and Balance was made to have (slightly) higher sustained. If they have the same sustained, but Infiltration has better burst and PvP control, then Infiltration would clearly be superior.

 

Either way, they're both extremely viable for DPS.

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If you dont use project in you're rotation as inf, you killing you're dps. I'm not near my parcer atm but what I recal from ops last night was project being the second most damage done while spec'd inf. Nothing has changed for anything you will do as inf. Cs-cs-project-fb. You can figure out the rest. I'm quite proficient at balance and inf. Inf did more dps and more burst. This was the case for running EV as inf then KP as bal then tanking the new ops.

From where I'm sitting, inf is your go to dps tree for pve unless damage is an issue for your healers.

As always, play what you are most comfortable playing.

Cheers all.

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1.2 has liberated my talent tree points, and so I'm going to try your 8/2/31 build. Now having played balance for a few weeks I find I rarely use project, except as a closer for mind traps or stun droids when FiB is on cooldown. OTOH I have been hella squishy so some extra defense would be appreciated. Will LYK how it works out.

 

OK, ran the new flashpoint last night with this new spec. Put out reasonable DPS I think; numbers seemed higher per strike than with my former build. But I can't help but think that I'm missing out on some DPS without the Find Weakness proc on Shadow Strike. Where is this training dummy so that I can run some parses?

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